The Vegas Golden Knights goaltending controversy could get more interesting in the coming hours. After netting his team a 3-0 shutout last night against Vancouver, Robin Lehner would seem like a solid candidate to start again tonight for Game 4 of their series. However, Lehner is 1-7-1 in his career on second nights when he plays both ends of a back-to-back series. That could allow the opportunity for veteran Marc-Andre Fleury to get the start tonight.
In fact, NHL.com’s John Shannon reports that there is an internal belief that Fleury will get the nod against Vancouver in Game 4. However, Vegas coach Pete DeBoer refused to confirm that belief:
“I’m not going to confirm any lineup decisions we’ve made,” said DeBoer (via Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen). “You’ll see tonight. We’ve got a plan, and we’re going to continue on the path that we know is the right one for our group.”
However, considering that DeBoer and Vegas management has continued to claim that it is a 1 and 1a situation, a Lehner start would likely negate that stand. Fleury, on the other hand, has appeared in just two appearances so far in the playoffs. If he does start tonight, The Athletic’s Jesse Granger notes it will be his first appearance in 14 days, his second game in 23 days and his third game in 174 days.
An official word isn’t likely until just before gametime.
- Speaking about unknowns, TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal reports that Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers was skating today, although there is no word on whether the blueliner is available for Game 4 tonight against the Golden Knights. Myers, out with a shoulder injury since Aug. 14, wasn’t expected to be ready until later this week, according to The Province’s Patrick Johnston, who added that the two-day break after this game could benefit him. However, Dhaliwal suggests there is a possibility that he could be ready tonight depending on how he responds to treatment. Again, he will be a game-time decision.
- In an interview with The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman (subscription required), Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland admitted the Oilers will keep with a tandem goaltending situation. However, he also added that while he was pleased with the team’s goaltending for much of the season, he still needs time to assess whether they will make any changes, especially since veteran Mike Smith is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins adds that Smith is likely to be re-signed by the Oilers if Holland can find a way to upgrade Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5MM contract. If the team can unload Koskinen, that could improve Smith’s chances of staying in Edmonton. Otherwise, the team would likely look to let Smith walk and hope to find an upgrade in net after that.